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Gender-based violence (GBV) is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, and continues to be one of the most notable human rights violations in Zambian societies and Africa at large.

Issues of wife battering, sexual abuse and other gender cases have continued to be the most reported news that have dominated both mainstream and social media in the recent past, an act that has attracted the attention of governments and concerned non-governmental organisations.

Gender-based violence is violence directed against a person because of their gender. Despite the fact that both women and men experience gender-based violence, the fact still remain that the majority victims are women and girls.

However, women and girls have turned to be the villain of Gender Based Violence in Zambia and it is for this is where this article for this week centers, “Villains but ‘victims’ of Gender based Violence.”

In the past couple of years, reports of gender based violence involved men and women especially at household level.

As some institutions like United Nations define it, Gender Based Violence includes acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, the threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty.  Together with sexual violence and violence against women, Gender based Violence is used interchangeably.

Sexual and physical violence against women has been one of the most reported cases in the recent past and it has been observed that women are also inflicting such acts on fellow women.

Apart from marrying off young girls, women have been perpetrators of other acts that inflict psychological torture against fellow women. A case in point is that of a video which went viral on social media platforms where a young woman was abused for allegedly sleeping with some married man.

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It was been alleged that a gang of Ndola women pounced on her and abused her in all manner, at one point they inserted a castle bottle in her private parts with all its contents poured inside her. Although health practitioners did not explain the extent of the damage, such acts has negative impact on a young girl.

Another area where women have perpetrated violence against fellow women is through politics. Anger for political power is one of the major constraints to the fight against Gender Based Violence in Zambia.

It has been noted in the recent past elections that women who actively participate in politics have no concern for the fight against the vice. Instead of supporting each other to promote gender equality, some women use abusive speech against fellow women who belong to the opposing side.

This could be one of the major reasons some women have lost interest in taking parts in active politics today.

Women need to condemn all forms of Gender Based Violence if they are to promote gender equality and encourage more women to participate in development process by taking charge of some key decision making position in governance process.

Another last but not the least area where women are villains of Gender Based Violence is through early marriages. Early marriages, pregnancies and sexual abuse are one of the hottest topics that have attracted the attention of governments and non-governmental organisations in Zambia.

For example, it was reported that more than five thousand teenagers were impregnated in the space of three months in 2018, with the statistics coming from Chipata district only in the year 2018. And one of the reasons for both early pregnancies and marriages is the act of common traditional practices that have been championed by women commonly known as Alangizi.

Honestly speaking, violence against women affects all of us. It is in fact, violence against society as women makes the majority of it. Despite the legislations enacted by the state to annihilate the vice, cases of the Gender Based Violence continue to make headlines in the media.

Women and girls need to remain united if the country is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal number 5, which calls for gender equality by 2030. This can only be achieved if women have the unity of purpose and compete with men in developmental activities through eliminating all forms of Gender Based Violence which they have become not only victims but also villains.

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‘STOLEN CHILDHOOD DREAM’

Posted: September 3, 2019 in Uncategorized

MARRIAGE signifies the bond between two adults and it marks the beginning of their future as husband and wife and this is a dream of every girl child to find a suitable marriage mate whom they can spend the rest of their lives with.

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The union usually comes with joy and unforgettable memories as this is a onetime event in one’s life. Like any other notable ceremony, a wedding ceremony is more than a celebration as it is the first day of new life between a man and a woman. It leaves long lasting memories for the wedded couple.

Sadly, this has not come with the expected joy to many young women that have been married off at a very tender age. Their marriage ceremony turns to be the darkest memories as early marriage compromises their dreams of pursuing higher education and engage in any other professional development career.

It is a fact that as children grows, they dream to become among other things, Medical doctor, Engineers, Teachers, Pilots and so on. Unfortunately, most young girl’s childhood dreams have been stolen and taken away through early marriages.

According to the Minister of Gender, Honourable Ms Elisabeth Phiri, Zambia has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the region with 31 per cent of women aged 20-24 years reporting having been married before the age of 18.

The law maker said this during the UNFPA-UNICEF Sixth International Steering Committee Meeting on the Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage, 8-12 July 2019.

Young girl in rural parts of Zambia have been victims of traditional practices that have consistently been cited as one of the major causes of early marriages.

At puberty age, girls between the ages of 10 to 11 are subjected to traditional practices commonly known as chisungu in one of the common languages in Eastern part of Zambia. This is the first stage when their childhood dreams are stolen.

Many studies have shown that when girls, especially in rural parts of Zambia fall pregnant at an early age and drop out of school to get married, the majority rarely go back to school despite government’s efforts to come up with education re-entry policy that allows a girl child to return to school after pregnancy.

I can be concluded that causes of child marriage in Zambia are deep rooted, and tied to issues like poverty and lack of opportunity like businesses and employment. Consequently, many children’s dreams have been stolen.

Therefore, keeping children at school and in learning, sensitizing teenagers that are entering relationships, and making sure young people have information on sexual and reproductive health are just some of the answers to this vice.

Many young girls childhood dreams have been stolen. However, through our unified efforts, we can curb the act.

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Image  —  Posted: May 22, 2019 in Uncategorized

‘IF I HAD, THEN I COULD’

Posted: November 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

“If I had, then I think I could have done it that way,” is the common notion in most young Africans minds and Zambians are not an exceptional. Many are the times that we fail to see opportunities to use what we have to develop ourselves because of always wishing to have what is not available that using what we have.

Many young people have failed to run and sustain their businesses because of not taking advantage of what they current have.

Some believe that starting up a business requires huge sums of money or one need to come from strong financial background. That is not true. Most of business giants existing today started from somewhere until to the level they are today.

To illustrate, imagine giving 30 thousand kwacha to a person who fails to start a business with 5 hundred kwacha, will this person sustain his business?

It’s obvious that for one to fail to establish a business with small capital might fail to properly use 30 thousand kwacha if given as a capital. This is simply because if that person sees five hundred to be a small amount, he might just want to use 30 thousand for luxury and not for business.

That was about mind-sets towards business. What about education?

Many young Zambian have decided to hand themselves in early marriages, stating that they do not have anyone to help them further their education. While we may agree that education is expensive especially when one is an orphan or coming from the ‘poor family’, a determined person uses every opportunity to get what will help them achieve their dreams.

Being negative towards one’s self and always waiting for Boma Iyanganepo (Government should come to our aid) is what is killing most of Zambian young people. And when things get harder, we sit under the tree, meditating “If I had, I think I could have done it that way. If I had the opportunity, I could have used it that way.”

I have chosen not to have this notion in my mind. Have you?

At that time, the eyes of the blind will open and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. The lame will leap like the deer and the tongue of the speechless will shout for joy,” God’s word says at Isaiah 35 verses 5 – 6.

Undoubtedly, every human being whether disabled or not, is looking forward to the fulfillment of this prophecy.

In this world we live in, stories about disabilities, hunger, diseases and death are not strange. Sadly, some have been abandoned due to such conditions and grapple with their lives, seeking for better life.

Whatever the case, imagine witnessing the eyes of a relative who has been blind for years, seeing? What joyful moment seeing the feet of the lame being firm and moving about? How about hearing the tongue of the speechless shout joyfully?

These are some of the thought provoking questions that stirred a group of young women led by Cynthia Maluti of Lusaka to visit and donate assorted items to Home of Happiness orphanage in Lusaka’s George compound.

“We made contributions and decided to visit our friends at Home of Happiness Orphanage on Saturday and we will continue doing this,” said Cynthia.

“It is important to recognize our friends living with disabilities and we need to make them feel part of the society. They need to know that being disabled is not the end of their lives,” she added.

Honestly speaking, living with disability can make one think life in meaningless and that they are worthless before able-bodied man. And as such, disabled people need our comfort, help and our kindness.

In fact, according to the TV2 news bulleting aired on 2nd September 2018, people living with disabilities in Zambia launched a complaint to the human rights commission, stating that they feel neglected by society.

But the fact is that they do not ask much from us. All they need is to feel the importance as part of the society and help them both materially and by word that comforts.

Happy though disabled: How so?

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Children at Home of Happiness Orphanage

Only if we draw closer to them and make them feel worthy with our sweet comforting words as we all look forward to the aforesaid prophecy.

Image  —  Posted: September 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

By Joseph Phiri

WHILE other girls in Zambia and elsewhere aspire and live the life of “slay queen”, fashion and the likes, this young and determined author Jane Nakasamu has led her own ‘disregarded’ but unique and productive life at the age of 23.

On one hand, she is not as young as one might think she is, in a sense that she has dedicated her life to contribute to social change in life. On the other hand, she is not as old as one might consider she is, in a sense that she is still in her early 20s but able to influence positive change and contribute the development of society.

Holding a degree in International Relations from Cyprus International University, Cyprus, Jane Jamila Nakasamu an author of the book entitled ‘My Dear Reflection’ was born and grew up in Zambia.

Her book shows her keen interest on how social and political conditions affect the living status of various classes of people in society.

“I am a proactive and optimistic person who always sees positive sides of things,” she says. Rather than seeing a problem, I seek an opportunity to come up with solutions. This is why I consider myself a creative thinker, with passion for social development,” she adds.

Indeed, meeting Jane for the first, one would think she is too young to write and talk about social and political issues. Nonetheless, as the saying goes, “Never judge the book by its cover” Jane is truly a creative thinker and has taken a different path of life, showing fervent interest and passion for social change in Zambian society and Africa at large.

Honestly speaking, humility is what defines what she does. Currently, she is working as a student advisor at UNICAF University but she has not abandoned her passion for writing and influence social change in society.

“I am motivated by the fact that these social issues such as Gender Based Violence and Early marriages are sometimes ignored like they don’t matter or affect anybody in society,” she explains.

She observed that people have paid much attention to social media and ignore real issues that need serious attention.

“If you notice, people have decided to give attention to social media, forgetting that there are friends out there who sleep hungry, some especially ladies cannot go to school due to lack of sponsorship and there is a lot of discrimination in the job market,” she observed.

She is determined to achieve more as a social entrepreneur and as a writer. Her aim is to see that whatever she does contribute to the well-being of individuals and Zambian society as well as changing the face of Africa.

Currently, she owns a shop and a fashion brand in Lefkosa Cyprus. Jane understands that a woman should love fashion and make-ups but in her case, this should be coupled with the love for the community and finding better ways to improve people’s well-being.

Without criticizing what others do, she hopes to grow bigger and continue inspiring young people especially girls.

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Jane Jamila Nakasamu

Her dream to be a diplomat will surely come true as she takes one step at a time.

You can order her book ‘My Dear Reflection’ online using the following link https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Reflection-Jane-Jamila-Nakasamu/dp/1512719188

DURING my tour to eastern province of Zambia, I had privilege to visit one of the most arguably isolated villages known as Chimsitu.

The village is 40 kilometres from Katete Boma and 5 kilometres from Mozambique, with over 2, 879 people leaving in the area according to the statistics obtained from the local primary school.

It is also worth mentioning that the village has only one healthy post which also accommodates people from over 7 villages coming from the neighboring country, Mozambique.

Talking of education, the village has one school which also accommodates pupils from Mozambique.

Bicycles and motorbikes are the major modes of transport in the area with neither electricity nor good road network.

Regarding communication, Zamtel is the only mobile service provider available in this area which only functions properly depending on the weather of the day.

Sadly, early marriages is one of the serious problems faced in the village, as young girls are given into marriages at an early ages of 13 years old.

Honestly speaking, education in Chimsitu village is meant for boys and girls between the ages of 5 to 11. Anyone exceeding this age, in case of girls can only visit the clinic for antenatal while boys are engaged in farming.

Contrary to the vision 2030 as stipulated in the sustainable development goals number 3 and 4 which calls for good health and well-being and quality education respectively, one would say it is impossible to end poverty and zero hunger as indicated in the goals number 1 and 2 in Chimsitu village.

As it is said that education is key to success, it can be said that the motion does not apply to young girls and boys of Chimsitu village.

According to UNICEF 2017 Report, Zambia has one of the highest child marriage rates in the world with 31% of women aged 20-24 years married by the age of 18 and Chimsitu village cannot be left out.

It is believed that one of the key drivers which need to be addressed with regard to child marriages in this village are traditional practices and beliefs, and the low social status assigned to women and girls. Initiation ceremonies for girls who reach puberty prepare them for marriage and gender responsibilities as defined by culture.

Cultural practices such as polygamy also drive child marriage in Zambia and particularly in Chimmsitu Village, as young girls are married off to older men who are respected in their communities.

As if that is not enough, Poverty also exacerbates child marriage. Over 60.5% of the population in the area live below the poverty line, and families see child marriage as an opportunity to benefit financially from the bride price they receive for their daughter.

Finally, girls’ lack of access to education in this area contributes to the likelihood of child marriage. Therefore, this calls for concerted efforts from the media, stakeholders, students and policy makers to try and combat the vice. Together we can end the early marriages and promote equality, in turn, eradicate poverty to meet the sustainable development goal number one.blog.